Hypoglycemia

From Terri Shumsky's Book "How to Buy and Raise your Toy Dog"


Many puppies are lost unnecessarily each year, simply because breeders know too little about hypoglycemia and many veterinarians find it difficult to diagnose. My Vet's opinion is that too few background facts are given to a Vet when the sick puppy is brought in for help. Usually the puppy is comatose the first time a Vet sees him and since he usually responds immediately to intravenous or subcutaneous dextrose injections, the Vet often diagnoses the problem as an acute viral hepatitis or encephalitis, (the reaction is the same in all of these cases).

However, in a young puppy, or a very tiny toy dog, this condition is usually hypoglycemia, brought on by stress or shock in some form. Also, it usually occurs in puppies from 4 to 5 months of age but CAN occur in mature toy breeds when they are subjected to STRESS.

The stress usually causing this condition is:
1-Overhandling young puppies and not letting them get enough rest and sleep.
2- A puppy refuses to eat for over a period of 8 hours due to change of home and/or food.
3- Exposure to low room temperatures for a period of time or sleeping in drafts..

The puppy will appear limp and lifeless with the gums and tongue usually grayish blue in color. Often the eyes are unfocused and barely open. They may appear to be slightly sunken in. Temperature will be sub-normal and the puppy will be shivering and trembling in the early stages. As condition worsens, the puppy either goes into a coma or convulsions. Hypoglycemia is a metabolic disorder and death will result, unless properly DIAGNOSED AND CARED FOR IMMEDIATELY, if the case is severe. The level of the blood sugar must be raised at once and the stress condition treated.

My Vet recommends an injection of 5-10 cc of a five percent solution of dextrose with added B-12. He gives this subcutaneously as it provides a longer lasting action and, also, it is almost impossible to locate a vein in a tiny puppy.

With this dextrose or glucose, my Vet also gives an injection for shock and stress. He says that many Vets use a form of cortosteroid for this stress factor. It is produced under many trade names, but your Vet will be sure to have it on hand. When these injections are given in time, the puppy may regain consciousness promptly. If the seizure is bad or not CARED FOR IN TIME, the puppy may REMAIN IN A COMA FOR DAYS. When this happens, you must feed him, keep him warm and quiet and see that he has proper eliminations.

Usually the bowels will move without help, but an older puppy may struggle to be supported erect on his feet for elimination. Check carefully for urination as the pup is in trouble if the kidneys cease to function. Wash genital area with cotton soaked with warm water if the puppy is comatose. If partially mobile, put his feet on a towel at the edge of a wash basin. Support him with one hand and turn the water on in the basin. Hearing the running water usually makes them urinate.

Also, Mix the Glucose Solution shown in "Whelping Supplies" or Mix Honey, Sugar or Corn Syrup with equal amounts of water and feed with syringe 10cc four times a day.

When hypoglycemia is caught in time, there is no reason why a puppy won't come out of it and never have it again if the stress factor is eliminated.

Even if this never occurs to your puppy, or adult, it is important that you know about this to aid your Vet in diagnosing the problem. This usually affects Tiny Toy Breeds and Most of them outgrow this danger by 6 months of age. However, it can happen to a tiny dog even as an adult and careful attention must be paid to the diet of any TINY TOY DOG.


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